Yes: Eat real food.
Eat meat, seafood, and eggs; vegetables and fruit; natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with a simple or recognizable list of ingredients, or no ingredients at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.
No: Avoid for 30 days.
Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. This includes (but is not limited to) maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, monk fruit extract, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, and xylitol. If there is added sugar in the ingredient list, it’s out.
Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And ideally, no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy: soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy lecithin.
Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label, it’s out for the Whole30.
Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients.* Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is missing the point of the Whole30, and won’t lead to habit change. These are the same foods that got you into health-and-craving trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.
Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. The Whole30 is about so much more than weight loss, and to focus only on body composition means you’ll overlook all of the other dramatic, lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat, or breaking out the tape measure during the 30-day elimination period. (You may take photos and/or measurements on Days 0 and 31, however.)
*Some specific foods that fall under this rule include: pancakes, crepes, waffles, bread, tortillas, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, alternative flour pizza crust or pastas, granola, cereal, or ice cream. No commercially-prepared chips (potato, tortilla, plantain, etc.) or French fries either. While this list of off-limit foods applies to everyone (even those who “don’t have a problem” with pancakes), you may decide to exclude additional foods that you already know make you feel out of control, like RXBARs or almond butter.